There is nothing new these days about virtualization, whether at the server- or desktop-level. Nevertheless, a recent announcement by Virtual Iron and 2X did remind me yet again that virtualization is starting to change the very foundation of how software companies, including Microsoft, can position and profit off the desktop experience.
One of the big issues with Linux, even to this day, is compatibility and accessibility. However, as we see more widespread use of virtualized desktop environments and remote access to terminal service-based applications (including the whole “seamless windows” experience), the underlying core OS on the desktop under someone’s desk becomes less and less relevant.
That is a big win for Linux because it is obviously the low-cost solution and it can be well managed across a large set of systems via automated systems.
But, the money is always going to be in the OS and applications that are in front of the user, not the underlying OS on which virtualization software is running. That is where terminal services and seamless windows will help push Linux over the edge in terms of accessibility, compatibility, and, in real business terms, usability for end-users that are generating the revenue to keep businesses in the black.
My point: virtualization and server-based computing will help push Linux on the desktop.